Before delving into any controversial topics involving the front office and Dave Roberts, I figured I should share something that I stumbled across while in essay preparation. This fact made me feel a little better about the sheer horror we witnessed in San Diego. Imagine my mild delight, when I realized this fact was about northern cousins, the rival San Francisco Giants. While this fact is not going to stop folks from joking about The One-Win Team, any silver lining is welcome at this point.
As has been discussed, The One Win Team shattered the franchise record for regular season wins with 111 victories. Accordingly, they had a historic season against the Giants where the Dodgers prevailed in 15 out of 19 contests over six series, a show of dominance not seen since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Moreover, in terms of percentage points, the Dodgers have not demonstrated such mastery over the Giants, since the Dodgers were known as the Brooklyn Superbas in 1899 (10 wins in 12 games). That dominance may have had an unintended consequence, but first, exploring those 111 wins.
Head to Head with everybody else
Considering the Dodgers' mastery of the Giants in 2022, I got to wondering, apart from teams in Pennsylvania and the Padres, the question remains how did the Dodgers fare against the rest of the league? The Dodgers infamously won 14 games in 19 tries against the Padres. That result leaves us 82 Dodger wins to sort through.
- Arizona (14 W, 5 L)
- Atlanta (4 W, 2 L)
- Chicago-NL (7 W, 0 L)
- Chicago-AL (2 W, 1 L)
- Cincinnati (7 W, 0 L)
- Cleveland (1 W, 2 L)
- Colorado (11 W, 8 L)
- Detriot (2 W, 1 L)
- Kansas City (2 W, 1 L)
- Anaheim (4 W, 0 L)
- Miami (6 W, 1 L)
- Milwaukee (4 W, 3 L)
- Minnesota (4 W, 0 L)
- New York-NL (3 W, 4 L)
- Philadelphia (3 W, 4 L)
- Pittsburgh (1 W, 5 L) (Baseball!)
- St. Louis (4 W, 2 L)
- Washington (3 W, 3 L)
Overall, the Dodgers were 54-22 (.711) against the NL West. The Dodgers only dropped the season series with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Mets, and Cleveland. With the advent of a balanced schedule next season, expect the total numbers to be quite different with the pending loss of a home and road series with each team in the NL West.
At first glance, the Dodgers had a mastery of the league that had not been seen in team history, certainly not in the National League since the 1906 Chicago Cubs’ 116 regular season victories — for all that comparison was worth.
From our perspective (mostly, as I cannot account for the #obsessive), the Giants were functionally irrelevant to these Dodgers as of this year’s All-Star Break. However, snark aside, the Giants were statistically relevant for the final wild card spot until the last week of the season, when Philadelphia limped to beat Milwaukee for the final spot. Ultimately, the Giants finished at an even-steven 81 and 81, six games out of the final NL playoff spot, which directly leads into the following hypothetical.
We all remember the Giants’ besting the Dodgers in the NL West Division Race in 2021. Even with 107 wins that year, the Giants were still only 10-9 against the Dodgers, which is hardly setting the world on fire. In case, anyone was wondering for examples of the Giants’ dominance, the best examples I could find are when the Giants won 13 out of 19 against the Dodgers (most recently in 2003), 13 out of 18 (most recently in 1983), and 16 out of 22 (most recently in 1958). The all-time mark would be 19 out of 22 in 1904.
As stated above, the 2022 Giants finished six games behind Philadelphia for the final wild card spot. And in case you were wondering, the Giants won their season series against Philadelphia, 5 to 1. So the Giants would have just needed to tie the Phillies’ overall record in order to claim the last Wild Card spot. Believe it or not, the Giants went 18-10 in September (as opposed to 21-34 the two months prior).
Here’s the fact that would keep me up at night if I was a fan of our northern cousins: if the Giants had repeated just one aspect of their 2021 campaign, keeping everything else the same, and were instead 10-9 against the Dodgers in 2022, the Giants would have faced the Cardinals instead of the Phillies.
Who knows what would have happened after that?
Maybe we would be dealing with a tidal wave of preening smugness from the North?
Instead, the Dodgers’ doing historically well doomed the Giants to head to the golf course ... until the Padres did the same thing to the Dodgers about a week later. Consequently, under this hypothetical, the Dodgers would only have won 105 games, leaving Houston with the best overall record. As it stands, said home-field advantage for the Dodgers would have been rendered moot assuming the same result. But would an NLDS exit after a 105-win, non-record-breaking campaign be less painful than what occurred? Probably, but that is food for thought and for a later date.
Yes, those missing wins could have come from elsewhere, as is the case with any season. If anything you could argue that the Dodgers’ dominance was paper thin as they fattened up on weaker in-division opponents to a historic degree. But that assertion seems to be an example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
I am a Dodgers correspondent; the Giants mean nothing to me a good deal of the season. Just as Dodger fans were looking for any reason why the Giants took the division crown last year if we are engaging in a hypothetical, wouldn’t a Giant fan prefer to believe that those wins would come at the expense of the Dodgers? After all, if their team was just a little bit better against the Dodgers, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it should be their team that would be having a probability-defying World Series berth and National League pennant instead of the Phillies?
All of the hypothetical above instead of what is actually happening: a barren farm system resorting to a need to try and overpay for Aaron Judge/Trea Turner/Carlos Rodon to come play in the City by the Bay while facing pending irrelevance with Arizona and Colorado. But like, who is paying attention? In any event, I had to dig deep for any unexplored silver lining to this mess caused by the Dodgers’ early exit.